UK Scientists Create World’s Smallest Surgical Robot

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London: British scientists have developed the world’s smallest surgical robot which could transform daily operations for tens of thousands of patients, the media reported on Sunday.

From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industry to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery, reports the Guardian.

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The robot, called Versius, mimics the human arm and can be used to carry out a wide range of laparoscopic procedures including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, and prostate and ear, nose and throat surgery, in which a series of small incisions are made to circumvent the need for traditional open surgery.

The robot is controlled by a surgeon at a console guided by a 3D screen in the operating theatre, according to its maker Cambridge Medical Robotics. “Having robots in the operating theatre is not a new idea,” said the company’s chief executive, Martin Frost. “But the problem at the moment is that they are phenomenally expensive, not only do they cost $2.5 million each to buy but every procedure costs an extra $3,800 using the robot… and they are very large.”

The Cambridge Medical Robotics said it was already working with a number of National Health Services-owned and private hospitals to introduce the robots. The current global market for surgical robots is worth approximately $4 billion a year but this is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2024.

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